CHIM picked up his camera the way a doctor takes his stethescope out of his bag, applying his diagnosis to the condition of the heart. His own was vulnerable. (Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1996)
David Seymour was born 1911 in Warsaw, Poland as David Syzmin. He studied graphic arts in Leipzig, and turned to photography in 1933 while continuing his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. He later adopted the working name “CHIM” based on the pronunciation of his birth name.
Seymour covered many important political events for leading magazines including Life, beginning with the Spanish Civil War. At the outbreak of World War II he made his way to New York. During the war he served as a photo-interpreter with the U.S. Air Force in Europe. In 1947, he co-founded the international photojournalists’ cooperative Magnum Photos with his friends Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and William Vandivert.
Seymour’s postwar series of photographs of the physically and spiritually maimed children of Europe attracted worldwide attention, was published in a book by UNESCO, and became part of the posthumous exhibit, “CHIM’s Children.” The sympathetic and compassionate portraits of these small victims of war led a friend to note that for Seymour, wars were an enormous crime against children. Fluent in several languages, with deep affinities for many countries and peoples, Seymour was truly international. Among his many photographic essays are outstanding portraits of Bernard Berenson and Arturo Toscanini.
CHIM was killed by an Egyptian machine-gunner in 1956, four days after the Armistice at Suez.
International Center of Photography, New York City
George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The de Young, San Francisco, CA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX
2019 They did not stop at Eboli: The UNESCO Campaign Against Illiteracy in a Reportage by David “Chim”
Seymour and Carlo Levi (1950) (UNESCO)
2019 Tereska and Her Photographer: A Story (Russet Lederman, Inc.)
2017 Capturing History: The Photography of Chim, The Museum of the Jewish People (Tel Aviv)
2014 David Seymour, Vies De CHIM (Contrejour)
2010 Mexican Suitcase, C. Young (Steidl)
2006 David Saymour (CHIM) (Phaidon)
1999 Close Enough: Photography by David Seymour (CHIM) (University of Maryland)
1996 CHIM: The Photographs of David Seymour, Inge Bondi, H Cartier-Bresson, foreword C. Capa, Bulfinch
1980 Les Grandes Photos de la Guerre d’Espagne (Editions Jannink)
1976 Front Populaire, photographs by Robert Capa and David Seymour CHIM (Chene-Magnum)
1974 David Seymour (CHIM), 1911-1956 (ICP, Studio Vista London)
1969 Israel/The Reality – People, Places, Events in Memorable Photographs, (The World Publishing Company / The Jewish Museum)
1966 Paragraphic David Seymour (CHIM) (Grossman Publishers)
1957 Little Ones (Tokyo, Japan)
1950 The Vatican, with a text by Ann Carnahan, London
1949 Children of Europe (UNESCO Paris)